Race route has been defined and will cross 13 countries in a 30,149 km challenge to test classic cars and new models

The event that has inspired the movie “The Great Race” and Hanna-Barbera’s “Wacky Races” cartoon series has completed 100 years. The “Greatest Auto Race”, the first car competition around the world, started in February 12, 1908 in New York and ended July 30, 1908 in Paris, with the victory of a 1907 Thomas Flyer driven by George Schuster. The event was crucial in establishing cars as a reliable means of transportation in times when “motor cars” and women were considered to be the most fragile and capricious things on Earth. Now that automobiles are part of the modern life, the competition will have two different challenges in its second edition: test classic cars in a world-wide competition and show how modern cars can evolve into clean vehicles.

The Great Race 2008 New York to Paris will begin May 30, 2008, departing exactly from the same place the original competition took off from: Times Square, in New York. The arrival spot will also be the same one where Schuster has been declared the winner: the Eiffel Tower.

In this edition, there will be two competitive classes: Innovation and Schuster. The first one aims to showcase the reliability of new technologies, such as biofuels, fuel cells or any other the competitors choose to put to the test. Production or preproduction prototypes are allowed to participate and one of the most interesting will surely be a 2007 Ford Prototype of the Brazilian team Kyr Augusto Araujo/Alberto Fadigatti, but there will also be a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage able to run on multiple fuels, driven by the USA team J. Price/R. McKone.

The second, named after the winner of the first race, will allow classic vehicles (at least 25 years old) to face the 30,149 km challenge. They will surely find better conditions this time (since there were hardly any roads back in 1908), but all care is necessary to avoid the same fate half of the first competitors had. Of the 6 teams that entered the Greatest Race in 1908, only 3 managed to finish it.

The route for the Great Race 2008 has been recently defined. The racers will cross 13 countries (United States, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and France, in this order) and stop in more than 50 cities.

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